SingaporeMore workplaces promote mental health programs to help staff adapt to the...

More workplaces promote mental health programs to help staff adapt to the new normal

A recent survey has shown that local employees are facing work stress and loss of work-life balance in the workplace and that the dramatic lifestyle changes many had to undergo during the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened stress levels and disrupted Singaporeans’ routines.

On the back of this, the Ministry of Health’s Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) is guiding more companies to promote mental health programs in the workplace to help their employees adapt to the new normal.

Under the guidance of psychological counseling experts, MOHT staff facilitate candid conversations about mental health at work in a safe and confidential space. Experts also offer advice to help employees learn to deal with their emotions.

Since July this year, the team has also set up a hotline to provide employees with mental health support. Employees can share life or work challenges with a counselor while resting assured that staff identities will be kept confidential. The consultation fees will be borne by MOHT.

MOHT is now working on launching a new programme to train and appoint mental health ambassadors to take care of colleagues who feel stressed at work and provide assistance as soon as possible.

An MOHT spokesperson told Channel 8 News, “Some people who work at home for a long time can undergo a kind of psychological pressure. Management team members and bosses should pay more attention to these employees.”

While some groups have reported a whopping 50 per cent increase in demand for mental health counselling services as compared to pre-pandemic levels, others have pointed out that the pandemic has also changed people’s attitudes towards mental health, bringing it from being a taboo topic to one that can be discussed more openly and frankly.

Although some employees may be fearful of gossip, companies are urged to normalize these services for all staff.

For now, a growing number of small businesses are consulting with similar workplace mental health programs, including interior design firms, accounting firms, consultants and more. Service providers will work to understand the needs of individual companies, and then customize an appropriate package for each business.

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